A Power of Attorney ensures that your financial affairs or personal welfare can still be dealt with in the event that you can no longer make decisions for yourself. This could happen because of an accident, an illness such as dementia or following a stroke. Many people think that if they become unable to make their own decisions they can rely on family members to just step in but the reality is that if no one is legally appointed by you, then no one has the legal authority to act.
Certainty - Once a Power of Attorney is in place, unless the court cancels it, it's guaranteed - but if there is no power in place then the court will not grant this as a matter of routine.
Control - A Power of Attorney lets you choose the people who you want to look after your affairs and decide how they must act. Without this power in place, the court may choose someone you wouldn't have chosen and without knowing what instructions you would have given.
Cost - When you decide to set up a Power of Attorney, you know how much it's going to cost you. If you don't have a Power of Attorney in place when you need it then costs may spiral with solicitors fees, court fees, other professional fees and the ongoing cost of annual supervision.
Legal Services At Home provide a professional and friendly paralegal service specialising in Powers of Attorney with years of knowledge and understanding to help make this step easier for you, at a price that is considerably cheaper than a solicitor.
A Power of Attorney can be used to allow someone else to manage your money and property or your personal and medical care.
Without a Power of Attorney in place no one has the legal right to manage your money through a joint account.
Spouses still have to go through the legal process of appointing each other to manage their affairs, there is no exception for spouses.
A Power of Attorney cannot be used to manage your special rights and responsibilities such as executing your will or giving consent to marriage, sex or adoption.
You should choose someone who is responsible and trustworthy, who has the necessary skills that the role requires. This could be a friend, a relative or a professional.
The people you appoint to manage your affairs are legally required to act in your best interests. There is always a risk when placing your affairs into the hands of other people that they might ignore their obligations.
BBC’s The One Show explains why it's so important to have a Lasting Powers of Attorney in place.
Note: The Government fee has been reduced to £82 since the making of this video.